Wednesday, January 24, 2007

petit pan de mur jaune



A little patch of yellow wall

Vermeer's View of Delft

A little more web searching and it is clear many people are taken up with the patch of yellow. Is that parallel or convergent? Pedantry or profundity?

Marcel on the death of Bergotte

might be where many come to this first the first time.

I came to it from total incomprehension and ignorance, having read only snippets of A la Researche, though much about Proust. When the Pinter Proust play was first aired on BBC Radio 4, I listened to it with enthusiasm because how a screenplay could be constructed was of increasing interest to me. My simple-minded approach was that if this was a renowned playwrite and that was a devilishly difficult book, then the result the Pinter Proust Play was going to tell me quite a lot.

But the screenplay starts with:

YELLOW SCREEN

[sound of bell]

OPEN COUNTRYSIDE. A LINE OF TREES SEEN FROM A RAILAY CARRIAGE. THE TRAIN IS STILL.

NO SOUND.

MOMENTARY YELLOW SCREEN.

THE SEA SEEN FROM A HIGH WINDOW. A TOWEL HANGING ON A TOWEL RACK IN FOREGROUND.

NO SOUND.

VENICE. WINDOW ON A PALAZZO SEEN FROM A GONDOLA.

NO SOUND.

MOMENTARY YELLOW SCREEN.

THE DINING ROOM AT BALBEC. NO SOUND. EMPTY

EXTERIOR OF THE HOUSE AT THE PLACE DE GEURMANTE, PARIS 1921. AFTERNOON. A MIDDLE-AGED MAN, MARCEL, WALKS TOWARDS THE HOUSE.

when I had expected it to start with the tea cake and lime tea, though of course the book doesn't start with that immediately.

At that stage I had no idea what the yellow was about.

Right up to date. Now I know why Pinter chose to start with yellow over the evocations of smell and and taste. If you want to know you have to read



Epstein: art is a trick that allows us to indirectly convey the structure of our minds.



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